Law Will Require Medicaid to Provide Coverage of Gender Affirming Care to Program Enrollees
Annapolis, MD - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, commended Maryland Governor Wes Moore for signing into law SB 460, also known as the Trans Health Equity Act. The historic legislation, advanced recently by the state legislature, will require the state’s medical assistance program, or Medicaid, to provide coverage of gender affirming care to program enrollees beginning January 1, 2024.
Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth. Gender-affirming care is the integration of medical, mental health and social services. For transgender children, transition is an entirely social process which may include a new name or pronouns, wearing different clothes or styling one’s hair differently. At puberty, doctors may – in consultation with and having the informed consent of the transgender youth and their parents – prescribe reversible medication known as puberty-blockers, which allow a young person to safely reach an age in which they’re truly able to consent to further treatment.
Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the following statement:
“Today, we celebrate Governor Moore and the Maryland Legislature for seeing, hearing, and meeting the needs of the transgender community, even as it remains under attack in other states across the country. Age appropriate, medically necessary, gender affirming care saves lives. Period. Yet, LGBTQ+ people across the country continue to be in a state of emergency as lawmakers without an ounce of medical training are carrying out an all out assault on this critical care. It’s why we’re grateful and relieved that pro-equality lawmakers in Maryland are instead working to remove unnecessary barriers to care and other health disparities that have long-plagued our community. We thank Governor Moore for sending a message to extremist politicians in other states that LGBTQ+ people aren’t going anywhere and deserve to exist without fear, shame, and stigma.”
So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 210 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
More than 120 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, eleven have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,
More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.
Get the facts about gender-affirming care:
“Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.
Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child.
None of this care is irreversible.
Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
And very few transgender people change their mind.
Supported by all major medical organizations
Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents
A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.
For more information, please visit hrc.org/transgender as well as these resources:
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email email@example.com.